As much as it pains me to admit it, the long form Web post is going the way of the dinosaur. Even the intellectual aficionados over at The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal are shortening digital articles by a paragraph or two. Who can blame them though? No one has time for in-depth anything anymore. The Web generation spent their communal childhood being sold the sweet nectar that is Cookie Crisps by a criminal dog in 10-second intervals.
The death of the content heavy post came in part with the rise of numbered lists. Generation Y has an attention span like a Yorkshire Terrier on cocaine. Did I watch the Academy Awards last night? Not a chance, but I will read a list of who won what, and that will probably only hold my attention long enough for me to search ‘pogo stick fail’ on YouTube. I will mourn for you long form article, but in the mean time, here are 5 reasons to use 5 reasons lists.
5. The Average Person Stays On a Web Page For 33 Seconds
It took me 24 seconds to read my own introduction. That means in the next nine seconds most of you will leave, I hope you enjoyed that article. For the rest of you who stuck around, the numbered list is the most efficient way to work within that 33-second constraint. The faster you can deliver information the better.
4. Each Number on the List is like a New Article
What better way to combat a generation raised by commercials than to write posts like television? Your brain just reset after seeing that next number and now your ready to keep reading. It’s similar to when the commercials during G.I Joe were for G.I Joe toys. It’s all Joe at the end of the day, but when broken up into segments it seems completely separate.
3.There is No Risk of Confusing People
A list is plain and simple, if you tell people ‘Hey, here are 10 ways to make money online” that’s exactly what they will expect to get. With the huge sums of content on the Internet, confusing people will only guarantee fewer views and clicks. A reader will know immediately if they are willing to commit to your post based on the title alone. 10 ways to make money online will have exactly that, no more no less.
2.Lists Are Easy to Skim Through
Before your readers commit to actually reading your post, they can skim through your points and see if it is worth their valuable Internet time. If your reader decides that he or she wants to continue on reading, only then will the above aspects of the list apply. The skim through is the jumping off point for your list.
1.Lists Offer a Pay Off
You made it to the end, congratulations. This is not the best or most important point of the list, however you read through to get to it regardless. Such is the magic of the numbered list. All lists offer the promise of a well-defined ending. Even if the last number is not necessarily the ‘top’ point, it still gives that illusion. You have a better chance of keeping readers if they want to make it to the end of the list to see that final number.